How To Paddle 'Out the Back' on a Surfboard (Lesson 4)
Ok, so now you're pretty competent in the white water, it's time to step it up a level and paddle out the back to the lineup (where the waves begin to break). This is usually in water out of your depth depending on the swell size or slope of the beach, so you need to be confident in your fitness and swimming ability.
Your main obstacle is the oncoming wave, and on bigger swell days you may have to overcome quite a few to reach your goal of the lineup. In order to achieve this there are three main methods at your disposal - the push up, the turtle roll and the duck dive (the latter being the hardest to accomplish)...
First of all, wade out as deep as you can, watch the oncoming waves and wait for a lull (break) in the waves. As soon as you spot a lull, jump aboard, position yourself in the prone paddling position and paddle like crazy! Inevitably you will come face to face with an oncoming wave, determined to put you back where you started. Don't panic, increase your paddle rate as the wave approaches, you'll need as much momentum as possible...
The Push Up
Difficulty rating - easy
1. When the wave is about 2ft from the nose of the board, place hands firmly on the rail in line with lower ribs, toes on the tail and push up.
2. Keep body straight as you would in a push up and allow the wave to pass between you and the board.
3. As soon as the wave has passed, drop back down onto the deck, adopt the prone paddling position and start paddling again.
Difficulty rating - medium
1. When the wave is about 3ft from the nose of the board, place hands firmly on the rail, hook toes on the tail, take a deep breath and lean over to one side flipping the board upside down.
2. Hold on tight, keeping the board as straight as you can, allowing the wave to pass over the board.
3. Once the turbulence has subsided, give one big push to flip the board back onto its bottom. As the board flips over, your body should follow with it, returning to the original prone paddling position.
4. Start paddling as soon as possible and be prepared for the next wave!
Difficulty rating - tricky
1. When the wave is about 2ft from the nose of the board, place hands firmly on the rail, push down to sink the front of the board and take a deep breath. At this point your bum will be in the air, with your back sloping downwards.
2. Place your knee (regular footers tend to use their right knee, goofy footers use their left knee) just above the tail of the board. For deeper duck dives you can use your foot.
3. Push down on your knee/foot to sink the back of the board.
4. As the wave passes above, lean back to allow the front of the board to rise to the surface. Hold on, use the board's buoyancy to pull you to the surface.
5. When you brake the surface, transfer your weight to the front of the board to avoid stalling.
6. With body returned to prone paddling position, start paddling again - paddle hard & fast.